The Absurdity of Fanhood

I was awake to see the clock tick all the way down to the double zeroes. It was a familiar scene, and maybe a metaphorical one even, no time left on the clock and my time had fewer points. I watched the familiar scene of my team (this time the Cleveland Cavaliers) sulk their way off of the court while the victors celebrated their win.

It was nearly midnight. I was still awake. They lost. Again. And I was upset.

I should qualify this upset thing. I have never smashed objects, put my hand through a wall, burned a car (or jersey) out of angry/disappointment, but my blood still boils. At times I’m as hot as the Cuyahoga when it caught on fire, or as sullen as the birthday boy whose balloon has just floated away. That has been my experience with sports. I am in a perpetual Charlie Brown loop of failure. The last time one of my teams won a championship was 52 years ago. 12 years before I was born. Yet somehow, someway, I find a way to be disappointed. Every year.

I also cannot allow myself the sanity of jumping on the bandwagon of another team. Though I took my talents away from Northeast Ohio 14 years ago, my heart still resides on the shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland will always be home, and because of that my sports loyalty has been etched in stone. My experience will continue to be dependent upon the teams that broke my heart as a child, young adult, and now as a parent.

 

My current t-shirt. Sigh. Go Browns!

 

A photo posted by Creed (@captain_creed) on

And that’s the absurdity of it all. Why do I care?

I have never suited up. I have never played a single down, inning, or possession professionally.

I promised myself that I wouldn’t care – that I wouldn’t let myself get sucked in, but then I saw the uniforms. I saw the word “Cleveland” scrawled across the warm-ups. I saw that my city was “All In” and so I was too.

And here’s the dichotomy of parenthood. There is a lesson of loyalty colliding with insanity. Einstein is attributed with the quote “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Maybe I am insane to continue to root for my teams. Maybe I am being a faulty example to my children. Is it careless to pass on this obsession joy torture part of my life on to my kids?

There is a matter of perspective as well. After LeBron’s first trip to the Finals with that team from South Beach, he said something in a press conference that he got chided for, but it was the truth. He said something to the extent of despite losing he was going to go on living his life and the fans would continue to go on living theirs. There are many things bigger than sports and there is this cruel reality that even when our teams win (or lose) at the end of the day our lives are, for the most part, unaffected. Are there economic ramifications for the cities? Sure. But will it have a lasting effect on my individually? Probably not. If the Cavs win a championship, I don’t get a pay hike. I don’t get a ring. I don’t get to go to Disney. At best, any gear I could get, I would have to buy, and any celebrating I would do would most likely be on my own.

But it would sure be fun.

And that’s the draw of entertainment. The rush, the excitement, the thrill of victory (or so I’ve heard) and the agony of defeat (I’m very familiar with this). Yet, underneath it all, despite the disappointment, the failure, the losing, and the ridicule (I’ve heard all the Cleveland jokes at least 3 times and have made a few myself), I think one thing is clear – there’s no place like home. Perhaps my fanhood is simply a manifestation of the loyalty and pride of where I come from. I have no qualms passing that on to my kids.

In case you didn’t know…#superman #dc #comics

A photo posted by Creed (@captain_creed) on

In the meantime, I’m not giving up on my teams. I can’t throw in the towel. I can’t stop believing. It’s not how I was raised. I can’t turn my back on home.

So I am going to continue to watch the NBA Finals, root for my Cavs, live and die with the team, and imagine what the championship parade will be like in downtown Cleveland. And if they happen to lose, don’t worry I will be okay. Just give me a few days to recover. But if they win? You will need to give me a few days then too.

The absurdity of fanhood is real and complicated. And I am going to continue to enjoy it.

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